What is your strategy for keeping employees happy?

If you ran a dealership, what would you do to make your employees happy? Provide great insurance? Have flexibility in Saturday schedules to accommodate family time? What about awarding technicians that get certified?

For Tommy Baker, owner of Baker Motor Company of Charleston, his forum is simple. He does all of that – and much more. In fact, Automotive News says he tells his staff, “You take care of the client, so I take care of you.” A successful strategy that’s obviously working for all 130 full-time employees, leading the dealership group to a voluntary turnover rate of 21 percent.

When it comes to taking care of his employees, Baker has financial experts come in to give employees advice on checking their credit, how to buy homes, purchase cars, and save money. To keep employees physically fit, he provides trainers and nutritionists – he even has a gym at one store! A nurse practitioner makes monthly visits to provide health-related counseling and gives flu shots. The company also sponsors a smoking-cessation program that costs about $600 per employee. If an employee successfully quits smoking, Baker pays for it.

Along with an insurance-rich program that Baker touts as one of the best in the county, transparency also pays a huge part with Baker. At company-wide quarterly meetings, all employees are kept informed as to what’s going on with any and all moves.

One thing Baker credits to his success at keeping employees is outlined early on. “We say the best attraction is to get them while they are in college as delivery specialists. If they do an excellent job, they can move up.” About 35 College of Charleston graduates started with Baker and are now in sales and management after working their way up.